Some Major League Baseball playoff previews analyze the postseason through the lenses of roster construction and depth. Others look at the performance of hitting stars and ace pitchers.
But we at Outsports know what really matters: rainbow swag. With that in mind, here are the 10 MLB playoff contenders ranked by Pride...
10. New York Yankees
Are the Yankees secretly owned by Willy Wonka? Because if you went to Yankee Stadium’s Don’t Call It a Pride Day, you got NOTHING. No rainbow pinstriped jerseys. No Pride NY caps. No posters of Lou Gehrig wearing a Tarzan loincloth. Nothing. You lose. Good day, sir!
At least you could’ve visited the Stonewall plaque out in Monument Park. Unfortunately, it’s about one-fifth the size of the one honoring George Steinbrenner.
Playoff Outlook: While Aaron Boone in the batter’s box is something no Red Sox fan wants to see, all of Boston is going to be perfectly happy seeing him in the opposing manager’s dugout. If Gerrit Cole isn’t lights out, the one-game playoff could be really rough for the Yanks.
9. Atlanta Braves
Give the Braves points for coming up with a unique giveaway with this year’s Pride cooler bag promotion. And an extra point for not putting a tomahawk on it.
But it also looks a bit like Atlanta just took a regular navy blue bag, slapped a rainbow “A” on it, and called it a day. The hometown of “Love, Simon” deserves more effort than that. Put a Creekwood logo on there, fill it with Oreos, take it on a Ferris wheel, and this could be the first Pride giveaway to turn me into a weeping mess. In the best possible way.
Playoff Outlook: The Braves were my preseason pick to win it all, which should have clued them in that 2021 was going to be rough one. They’ve done an amazing job rebuilding an offense that was decimated by injuries but there’s just not enough pitching there.
8. St. Louis Cardinals
I actually think that both the rainbow mesh cap and the wearable flag that the Cardinals gave away are pretty sharp. Furthermore, it’s genuinely great to see the Cardinals set an example by fully embracing Pride after some questionable decisions in years past.
But sorry ... I see that interlocking StL and No. 8 is about as high as this Cubs fan can go. Still, judging by Cardinal Nation’s standards for catchers, maybe they’ll think ranking their Pride swag 8 out of 10 means that it’s a Hall of Famer.
Playoff Outlook: It’s going to depend on Adam Wainwright shutting down the Dodgers in the wild card game. Which, if both history and his performance over this season are any indication, he’s perfectly capable of. Add in Jon Lester’s postseason brilliance, Paul Goldschmidt’s genuine HOF-caliber skills, and...better get a bucket.
7. Houston Astros
Celebrating their first Pride Night since 2010, the Astros did well by their LGBTQ fans with a Pride hoodie. It’s a sharp and clever giveaway, as the rainbow hood echoes the pattern of Houston’s famous “Tequila Sunrise” uniforms while also improving on their original color scheme.
Playoff Outlook: There’s a lot of talent on this roster and the Astros blend an unusual combination of good power with elite contact to frustrate opposing pitching staffs built around strikeouts. They’re a real banger of a team and could ride that offense to the pennant.
6. Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox Olde English B is an all-time classic sports logo and the Progress Pride flag is one of the most inspiring symbols ever created. So when you put them both together, as the Red Sox did with this year’s T-shirt giveaway, it’s like sending Ted Williams to bat in the ninth inning: a guaranteed winner.
Playoff Outlook: The Red Sox skidded in the second half. But between the firepower in this lineup and Alex Cora’s ability to manage around a thinner pitching staff, they could still be dangerous to face in October. And if Kyle Schwarber hits one that lands atop the Jumbotron at Fenway, we’ve really got a story.
5. Tampa Bay Rays
Something I never realized until I saw Tampa Bay’s Pride fanny pack: the Rays’ sunburst logo is perfectly designed for rainbow colors. It looks like a literal explosion of LGBTQ Pride. Which is kind of the point of the celebration in the first place. Plus the rainbow strap is a nice touch.
Playoff Outlook: The Rays are the team that we thought the San Diego Padres were. They could very well run through the American League and complete the job in the World Series this year. If you don’t recognize the name Wander Franco now, you might know it by the end of October. The 20-year-old is living up to the hype as baseball’s top prospect.
And who knows ... if the Rays win the Series, they might even open up Tropicana Field’s upper deck. Dare to dream!
4. Milwaukee Brewers
I remember when I first learned that there was a hidden “mb” in the Brewers’ ball in glove logo and the only way it could’ve blown my mind more was if Troye Sivan wore it to the Met Gala. So it goes without saying that the Brewers’ rainbow logo fanny pack was one of my favorites of 2021. It’ll also come in handy if the ballroom scene ever schedules a night where the category is Bob Uecker realness. In Milwaukee, I assume that’s every Friday.
Playoff Outlook: The Brewers are a trendy under-the-radar pick because of their dominant pitching rotation and bullpen. But unfortunately for them, in order to win a baseball game, it also turns out you have to score. And the Brewers’ offense is so dreadful, it almost qualifies as camp. It would also help if their relievers stopped fighting walls.
3. Los Angeles Dodgers
I’ve made no secret of my love for the Dodgers’ uniforms so this year when they added rainbow colors to their classic script logo for Pride T-shirts, they had me at hello. It’s the design equivalent of Vin Scully narrating “Let’s Have a Kiki” and I am here for it. Plus the “WE’RE BACK” slogan is a great sentiment for the return of pro sports’ largest Pride Night.
Playoff Outlook: You’d think a team built on unstoppable depth would be a safe pick, right? And it could easily still happen. The Dodgers are a loaded organization. But the combination of injuries to Clayton Kershaw and Max Muncy with a one-game coin-flip against Cardinals Devil Magic gives me pause. The Dodgers aren’t as obvious a pick as they would’ve been even two weeks ago.
2. Chicago White Sox
One of the coolest ways a team can commemorate Pride Night is by collaborating with a queer artist to create an original giveaway look. The White Sox really stepped up their game with a Pride T-shirt designed by Art Institute-trained LGBTQ advocate Nina Palomba.
It features a joyful baseball drawing in her signature classic cartoon style wearing a Sox uniform reminiscent of their “Field of Dreams” game throwbacks. The artwork harkens back to the 1930s but the rainbow is distinctly 21st century. This design is brilliant. Considering Southsiders used to proudly wear derisive T-shirts reading “Wrigley Field: World’s Largest Gay Bar,” it’s also a giant leap forward. Well played, White Sox.
Playoff Outlook: The White Sox have spent the season running away with the AL Central and are talented at every position. Yet I just can’t escape the feeling that Tony La Russa is going to ruin everything for them. Baseball’s most dour septuagenarian’s last World Series appearance was a train wreck and the nadir came when he changed pitchers and greeted his new reliever by asking “Oh, what are you doing here?”
If that happens again, every Pale Hose fan would be justified in asking him the same thing.
1. San Francisco Giants
It feels like half of my stories this summer have been singing hosannas to the Giants for those amazing Pride caps. But you know what? Wearing the Progress Pride colors on the field means they should finish No. 1 on this list. If it’s good enough for Cooperstown, it’s good enough for me.
Playoff Outlook: This is going to be fascinating. The Giants set a new team record by winning 107 games and everybody’s response has been to ask, “Are they for real?” Their offense and bullpen are no concern. And if their starting pitching shows up in October the way they did for the past six months, the answer will be a resounding yes.
As for how the postseason will play out, my heart says Giants vs. Yankees because I want to see Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo fight it out in the Fall Classic. But my head is leaning more toward Giants vs. Rays, with the Giants winning in six when Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash decides to show everyone by pulling his starter after one pitch.